The Alabama Crimson Tide women’s gymnastics team suffered its first loss of the season – and first since March of last year – to the Georgia Bulldogs by a final of 197.500-196.950. The Crimson Tide are now 3-1-0 in overall and SEC play, while the Bulldogs go to 5-4-0 overall and 3-0-0 in SEC play.
Things didn’t get started very well for the Tide as they scored a measly 48.95 on the uneven bars, their lowest score in that event this season. Things went from bad to worse in the Tide’s first rotation when senior Ashley Sledge suffered a shoulder strain and head coach Sarah Patterson decided to pull her out for the rest of the night, saying they were “very protective” of Sledge’s shoulders.
The second rotation closed the gap a bit as the Tide posted 49.375 on vault, the second highest this season. Kaitlyn Clark, senior Marissa Gutierrez and junior Diandra Milliner posted 9.9s during the event. The Bulldogs still had a lead at the halfway point.
“I’ve said this before, from the time (Georgia’s) coaching staff was hired, they had this meet circled in red on their calendar.” Patterson said. “We came in with a target on our backs.”
The Crimson Tide then posted 49.475 on the floor exercise and a 49.150 to close out the meet, but still wasn’t able to catch up to the Bulldogs which caused the reigning two-time national champions to fall the Georgia Bulldogs. The floor exercise score was the highest of the season so far, with Gutierrez scoring a career best 9.5.
“I think (the atmosphere in Athens) made some of our ladies a little nervous, and we’re just going to have to learn how to handle that.” Patterson remarked.
The Tide will stay on the road next week when they get a big test and take on No. 1 Florida in Gainesville Friday at 7pm. They return home the week after to face Auburn at 7:30.